Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe, who is the front-runner to succeed Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi later this month, said that top-level talks with China and South Korea must resume if ties are to improve. Abe told a conference of the ruling Liberal Democrat Party (LDP) Friday that relations between Beijing and Tokyo must not be based on emotions. He said that, if elected prime minister, he would express his disapproval to Chinese leaders at their refusal to engage in talks as long as Japanese leaders visit the Yasukuni shrine, which honors several class-A war criminals alongside the country's war dead. Abe is the strong favorite to triumph in the LDP leadership election on September 20. Sino-Japanese relations are expected to warm if Abe is victorious, with former foreign minister Nobutaka Machimura predicting a summit between the two sides at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Hanoi in November.